The Knee, ISSN: 0968-0160, Vol: 27, Issue: 5, Page: 1476-1483

Patients with lateral compartment knee osteoarthritis during arthroscopy are at highest risk of subsequent knee arthroplasty

Klasan, Antonio; Putnis, Sven Edward; Neri, Thomas; Leie, Murilo; Coolican, Myles Raphael


Arthroscopic treatment of knee osteoarthritis has declined, in part due to concerns with conversion to arthroplasty. Some studies have investigated the demographic predictors for conversion to arthroplasty, few have assessed the risk factors within the knee itself. Our aim was to analyse the demographics and anatomical wear features of a large cohort of patients undergoing knee arthroscopy.


A retrospective analysis of 1760 cases spanning over 17 years undergoing knee arthroscopy was performed. Patients were 36 years or older at time of the index arthroscopy. Each patient received the International Cartilage Regeneration and Joint Preservation Society (ICRS) grade of all regions as well an estimate of the remaining meniscal percentage. Demographic factors as well as intraoperatively collected data were analysed as predictive variables for subsequent conversion to arthroplasty using a multi-step Cox regression analysis.


A total of 102 patients (6.2%) were converted to arthroplasty. Age at arthroscopy (hazard ratio (HR) 1.073; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.058–1.088) and ICRS grade of the lateral tibial plateau (HR 1.166; 95% CI 1.066–1.276) were statistically significant predicting variables for conversion to arthroplasty.


The results of this study indicate that higher ICRS grade of the lateral tibial plateau at arthroscopy is the most significant predictor for conversion to knee arthroplasty, with a hazard equal to an increase in age. The absence of these factors does not justify arthroscopic treatment of patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Level of evidence: III.

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